Four Things Holding Back Your Performance
Do you find it difficult to achieve your health and fitness goals, and feel like something's holding you back? If you experienced rapid progress when you first joined the box, but this has since slowed down (or even stopped), you're not alone.
PBs in every session, getting faster with each WOD - sound familiar? If results seemed to happen with ease in the early days, but you're finding it difficult to maintain the same level of progress, this post is for you. If you want to up your game, to reach the next level and achieve your goals, here are four things that could be holding you back:
1. Lack of Consistency
In the early days, you probably followed your coach's standard programming. I'm going to guess everything was new and exciting, and you were happy enough working your way towards RXing the WODs, landing your first muscle up, and perfecting your clean and jerk. Sound about right?
Over time, it's natural that your goals will evolve, along with your knowledge, skills and abilities. This is a good thing, as it demonstrates your commitment to continual improvement. However, when you lack consistency and focus with your training, you're more likely to take a big step backwards in reality.
Do you often start a new program, only to realise half way through that it isn't going to help you achieve your goals? Do you lack focus, and regularly turn up for sessions without really knowing what you want to get from it?
To make progress, you need consistency. Why are you training? What are your goals? Go back to basics, and remind yourself why you started in the first place. Keep your training as simple as possible. If you know what your goals are, but don't know how to achieve them, take advice from your coach. If you need a little extra help, consider asking for some extra coaching.
Whatever you decide to do, whether that's joining the regular classes or doing your own thing, just make sure you do it consistently.
Even when you're training consistently, it's easy to throw away any progress with poor nutrition. It's a complicated subject, and everyone is completely unique, but there are some basic rules everyone should follow:
Make sure you're eating enough. You need to make sure you're providing your body with enough fuel to power you through any workout, even if your goal is to lose weight. This is a common mistake, especially if you've recently cut out the junk from your diet - so make sure you replace it with something more nutritious and wholesome.
- Think carefully about restricting carbs. If you've decided to go down the Paleo route, that doesn't mean you have to stay ultra-low carb. They play an important role, both in fuelling the body before intense exercise, and during recovery. If you find yourself low on energy during WODs or slow to recover, consider increasing your intake of this important macronutrient. Read this article from Breaking Muscle for more guidance.
- Forgetting about your recovery. Nutrition for performance doesn't start with your pre-training snack, or end with your post-WOD protein shake. To keep progressing, you need to think about what you're eating between WODs too. Most people accept this as essential for both fat loss and muscle gain, but often underestimate its importance for increasing strength and athletic performance.
3. Your Lifestyle
Lifestyle doesn't get much attention when it comes to fitness, but it's so important. How you go about your day-to-day life governs everything, from your immune system to your energy levels. If something's out of whack, you're going to notice it in the gym. Here are some questions to think about:
- Are you getting enough sleep?
- What are your stress levels like?
- How active are you during the day?
- Are you experiencing any relationship problems?
- How's your work/life balance?
Some of these issues can be hard to address, but all have the potential to impact your training. If something isn't quite right, make steps to change it, or re-assess your training goals to suit your lifestyle.
4. Your Thoughts
Have you ever missed a lift, knowing you were more than strong enough? Do you play down your ability to attack a WOD before you've even started? A negative mindset is unquestionably the biggest performance killer, and one that affects so many of us. Don't let it get the better of you!
Tackle a negative mindset with some positive thinking. To start with, make sure you set yourself realistic goals. Don't try to do too much at once. If your goal is to hit a 200kg deadlift, but you're currently at 100kg, break it down into smaller, more achievable goals. Then (and this is the important bit!) commit to achieving them, both physically and mentally.
There are some awesome resources to help you tackle your mindset - check out this article by MentalityWOD, which focuses on some of the mental strategies used by the elite athletes.